Royal college recommends national system to recognise deteriorating patients

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: (Published 26 July 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e5041
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

All acutely ill adult patients in NHS hospitals should be assessed by the same standardised clinical dataset to help detect those who are deteriorating rapidly and who need more intensive support, a working party from the Royal College of Physicians of London has recommended.

The national early warning score (NEWS) would be used to assess acute illness, detect deterioration in a patient’s condition, and prompt a timely and competent clinical response. Such a “track and trigger” system, implemented to a common pattern nationally, would make for a step change in the care of acute illness, said Richard Thompson, the college’s president.

Many hospitals already have such systems in place, admitted Bryan Williams, professor of medicine at University College London, who chaired the group responsible for the recommendation. These systems represent a lot of work, and their originators are firmly wedded to them, …

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